People often buy personalised number plates for their partner on Valentine's Day, but not all plate changes are made out of love.
That's the message from the vehicle information experts at HPI, which is urging used car buyers to make sure they don't end up with a car that comes with something to hide.
Dodgy dealers change registration plates on vehicles to conceal their true identity. Vehicle history checks are the only way buyers can be sure of the real status of a car.
The DVLA has more than 39 million personalised registrations available and they can be a nice gift, but some sellers use them to con buyers, who face losing their money and their car if it is found to be stolen, HPI's Senior Consumer Services Manager Shane Teskey said.
Criminals often clone cars by putting new registration plates on stolen vehicles, he added. HPI checks compare mileages with those on the National Mileage Register (NMR), confirm with the police whether cars have been stolen and discover whether they have been written-off or finance is still outstanding on them, Mr Teskey said.
Buyers and recipients of personalised plates are advised to inform theircar insurance provider of their new registration.
Copyright Press Association 2014